The Budget 2021 was released on Tuesday the 13th of October and the continued lack of investment in third-level education. It is vital to take a closer look at the state of student issues and if the hardships affecting students.
What are the hardship issues currently facing students at the moment?
Currently, Ireland has the student contribution fee of 3,000 euro for an undergraduate degree and 6,000 euro plus for a postgraduate degree which are the highest costs now in Europe how will this be addressed.
In July of this year, The Union of Students in Ireland have called on the Irish government to reduce the student contribution charge of 500 euro and create a plan to fund higher education in the state publicly.
‘’A €500 reduction must be made to the Student Contribution Charge immediately to ease the financial pressure on students caused by the covid-19 pandemic
‘’The Government must also support students who will have to work remotely for much of the new academic year by creating and investing in a new scheme that provides access to devices and better WiFi.’’
Students on average pay 800 euro plus for accommodation throughout the year but with the added restrictions and uncertainty how will students be supported while facing these during the covid-19 pandemic with the further possibility of another level 5 lockdown.
Among all these issues above, The Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI) grant has not received any investment since 2012, this lack of investment has further exasperated the hardships currently experienced by students.
The importance of the student union and representation
We can look no further than our student union TUDSU, so how over the last year how they have they been advocating for the student body to ease the change to hardships facing students at the moment/
In October 2019, a team of delegates from TUDSU and USI met with the former Taoiseach and current Tanaiste Leo Varadkar to discuss the issues facing students.
Pictured from left to right; Michelle Byne (Deputy President & VP Campaigns 2019/2020, USI), Luke Daly (the current Deputy President for Blanchardstown Campus, TU Dublin SU), Leo Varadkar (former An Taoiseach and current Tanaiste), Pierre Yimbog (President 2018-2020, TU Dublin SU), Hayley Keogh (VP Welfare & Equality for Blanchardstown Campus 2019-2020, TU Dublin SU,)
The student union officers from TUDSU and USI discussed a wide range of issues facing students such as LGBTQI+ rights, Student accommodation, Third Level investment and the climate emergency as well as the UK’s departure from the EU (Brexit).
A statement was written about the meeting with Leo Varadkar by Pierre Yimbog outlined concerns about the lack of understanding and ignorance of the issues that were being faced by students from the Department of An Taoiseach such as LGBTQI+ rights and climate action. Further statements were made that the union appreciate the time given up to speak to the delegates, but it was clear that no promises of change were given to change the current hardships faced by students in Ireland.
“The lack of investment put into third level education by this Government in the recent budget and the lack of action taken based on the recommendations of the Cassells report is disgraceful. The comments made by An Taoiseach show his ignorance of the struggles students go through trying to make it to college with the high cost of living, exorbitant accommodation prices and lack of investment in SUSI.” – Pierre Yimbog, TUDSU president 2018-2020
Full link to the statement here
And don’t be afraid to join the union on the streets to demonstrate that you are angry with the current state of hardships faced by students across the country.
This may not be able to happen for the foreseeable future. Still, when we can, I hope you join the Student union, and the student body is showing that you support increased funding to third-level education.
How can you join the student movement?
Ways you can get involved and help the student movement during the covid-19 pandemic, well at the moment our union TUDSU and national student union USI is working hard to speak to TD’s to make sure your concerns are represented in the upcoming budget for the next year.
The Union of Students in Ireland has been busy working with Student Union across the country to highlight the issue of Mental health during World Mental Health Day 2020 (October 10th 2020) to ensure that your mental health is not forgotten about this year with their hashtag #USIWMDH20, so even thought World Mental Health Day is over, please do continue to speak up about your mental health and share the hashtags to highlight mental health issues in Ireland.
Closer to home our Student Union President Rebecca Gorman has written about her experience of mental health struggle and seeking help with a counsellor which can be found here.
If you would like to share your experience of your mental health journey or write about anything that interested you, please get in touch with TUDSU tv to submit stories or articles you would like published find out more information here.
TUDSU tv is a great platform made by students for students as an outlet to share your interests, hobbies and even struggles you may be facing during your time in University to highlight the lives of students in TUD.
Maybe you might be interested in getting involved in writing for TUDSU tv but don’t have the experience of writing, and that’s completely fine, so here is a quick guide to writing a fascinating article or story.